Restorative Justice and Community Building

As certified Restorative Justice facilitators, both Jeff and I incorporate the theories of community building and inclusiveness into our everyday classroom and coaching practices.  The aims of Restorative Justice are universal irregardless of the community or setting in which they occur, and they are: to listen, to hear, and to communicate and heal as individuals, and as a collective.

Community building can easily be achieved through open lines of communication, and through the use of the Universal Design for Learning.  By utilizing your space to be as conducive to community, continuity, and sharing whenever possible, you are opening the path towards an increased sense of belonging.  It is this sense of inclusion, and validation, that ALL students and members of the community must feel in order to belong.  ~~ Positive Energy Activates Constant Elevation ~~ 

Simple ways to open, establish, and maintain lines of communications with students could be through "Monday Morning Check-In", "Personal Weather Reports", "Daily News Updates", or one of my favourite means of empowerment, which also happens to coincide with Growing for Success initiatives, student-choice assessments.  When I am able to interact with my students and ask them to contribute to their learning process in terms of what types of assignment investigations they are interested in completing (student-led learning; play-based learning), the results are phenomenal!  Immediately the vibe and tone changes, and they feel important, heard, empowered and in control.  It is precisely these feelings that afford the sense of ownership that students, especially those identified as at-risk, need to feel in order to want to remain a part of the collective community.

Very simply, in our everyday thoughts, actions, and communications, we can wittingly, or otherwise, influence and empower those who surround us to contribute to, and be a part of, the greater good.  On all levels.


Vanessa Hamilton, OCT